A FIRST World War battleship which played an important role in the secret operations of RAF Helensburgh during World War Two was a key ship used in the D-Day landings 75 years ago during June 1944.

At the start of World War Two, Courbet, a former French battleship, was taken over by the British to stop the warship being taken over by the Germans and  used against the Allies.

BOTH Helensburgh Baptist Church and the Helensburgh Cenotaph in Hermitage Park agree that Staff Sergeant Pirret, a recipient of the Military Medal, died in France in 1917.

But strangely they disagree about his Christian name. In Baptist and other accounts he is named as Norman McLeod Pirret, but on the Park monument he is Edward Pirret.

DATELINE: RAF Invergordon, Scotland, May 2 and 3, 1940 . . .

Lieutenant Haakon Offerdal arrives in Norwegian Heinkel 115. Flying boat Cabot arrives from Helensburgh.

A NAVAL officer from Helensburgh led a United Kingdom team which helped rescue seven Russian sailors from a trapped submarine — actions which resulted in thanks from president Vladimir Putin.

The leader of the team was Commander Ian Riches, who lived in Victoria Road and since retiring from the navy has made his home in Perthshire.

THE CENTENARY in 2018 of the end of the First World War resulted in a lot of fascinating research on Helensburgh and district people who lost their lives in the conflict.

The stories of many — from the only woman named on the WW1 panel on the Hermitage Park Cenotaph to the chaplain who lost his life when a hospital ship was torpedoed – can be seen on this Helensburgh Heritage Trust website.

THURSDAY JUNE 6 2019 was the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy which were to change the course of World War Two.

It was marked in Helensburgh that night when the Victoria Hall hosted an anniversary concert organised by Helensburgh Rotary Club and featuring the HMS Neptune Volunteer Band and the local Military Wives Choir.

THE Golden Hind on the Gareloch must have been an impressive sight — not Sir Francis Drake’s Golden Hind of 1580, or a replica, but a flying boat of the same name.

This was in 1940, and it could fly with a wing span of 134 ft compared to the 19 ft width of the galleon.

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